Our Faces of Leadership series shines a spotlight on the unique perspectives of today’s top leaders and executives.
And this time, we’re highlighting Linh Peters, Global CMO of Calvin Klein.
Recognized in 2021 as one of Business Insider’s “21 CMOs to Watch” and one of Brand Innovators’ “Top 100 Women in Marketing,” Linh has over 20 years experience building brands, consumer loyalty, and shareholder value. In that time, she’s worked for some of the top Fortune 500 companies, including Starbucks, Target, Ulta Beauty, and Best Buy. She also serves on the Advisory Board for AYO Foods, Adweek’s Sustainability Council, and the MMA North American Board.
Below, we’re sharing some of the highlights of our conversation with Linh, covering topics from the importance of diversity in the workplace to advice for aspiring leaders.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe myself as a leader who is caring, empowering, and operates with a growth mindset.
“I‘ve always operated with the goal of leaving an organization better than I found it.”
As a leader, how do you ensure your leadership leaves an impact that will outlast your tenure?
I've always operated with the goal of leaving an organization better than I found it. I've done this by focusing on three things: One, creating positive systemic change in how a company operates, gets work done, and develops people. Two, focusing on building a culture where people love what they do and do what they love. And three, caring about others' success as much as my own.
With those focuses in mind, how do you prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in your work?
Given that less than 2% of C-suite leaders are of Asian descent, it’s incredibly important that I use my experience and position of power to advocate for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
“It’s incredibly important that I use my experience and position of power to advocate for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.”
It has required me to proactively talk about topics that are uncomfortable. It has meant holding organizations, leaders, and people accountable for when we're not getting things right. And most importantly advocating, mentoring, and sponsoring under-represented business leaders.
What advice would you give up and coming leaders and professionals?
Focus less on titles and more on experiences that will advance your career. Organizational structures, levels and titles differ at every company so focus on your scope and responsibilities and how they will give you the opportunity to learn and add to your "professional toolbox."
And what’s the best career advice you’ve received?
Two pieces of advice that I live by every day. One, always assume positive intent. And two, solve the problems or tackle the challenges that no one else wants to take on.